This is rather lengthy. So, I broke it up.
Besides myself, I was with my mother, father, and sister. At 15 years of age and living in the midwest, our only white water experience was in a canoe down rivers rated a 1 or possible a 2.
It was a 6 day trip on one of those big ugly motorized pontoon boats of 30' or so. Two guides per boat, two boats in our group. There was a warning sign at Lee's Ferry about high water. That meant nothing to us. We had never done this sort of thing before. And besides, the company would of cancelled the trip if it were unusually dangerous. Wouldn't they? (I believe they actually shut the river down not long after we started in)
The water was high. Entire beaches were gone, some rapids were washed out completely, while others were intensified. If this gives you any idea, the water was so high that Redwall Cavern was almost completely submerged.
Even though the water was high and rapids were different, the guides rarely stopped to scout. Upon reflection, this seemed very irresponsible. I remember the guides discussing Crystal before going in. Although the left side of the river was riddled with insane waves/holes, the guides thought that as long as we stayed river right, all would be fine.
We were the second boat through. I never found out what happened, but that first boat was sucked to the left.
I remember riding through the waves and thinking this was easily the biggest water we had encountered on the trip. As a kid, I classified white water in the GC as two types. The roller coaster type where you just ride up and down huge waves, and the more rough, splashy type with a more jolting experience. This was both. The waves were enormous, and the ride was wet. The volume of water hitting us was intense. It started out fun, but quickly got scary as there were several waves that stood our boat on end then pummeled us with enough water that it was hard to hold on. Each wave seemed to get bigger. I could hear our guides yelling to each other. They were discussing something. I just didn't know what.
What I didn't know at the time, but found out later.